What is Talmud Tweets?

What is Talmud Tweets? A short, personal take on a page of Talmud - every day!

For several years now, I have been following the tradition of "Daf Yomi" - reading a set page of Talmud daily. With the start of a new 7 1/2 year cycle, I thought I would share a taste of what the Talmud offers, with a bit of personal commentary included. The idea is not to give a scholarly explanation. Rather, it is for those new to Talmud to give a little taste - a tweet, as it were - of the richness of this text and dialogue it contains. The Talmud is a window into a style of thinking as well as the world as it changed over the centuries of its compilation.

These are not literal "tweets" - I don't limit myself to 140 characters. Rather, these are intended to be short, quick takes - focusing in on one part of a much richer discussion. Hopefully, I will pique your interest. As Hillel says: "Go and study it!" (Shabbat 31a)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shabbat 43 - Care of the Dead for the Living

A corpse cannot be moved on the Sabbath. It can't even have a shade constructed for it on a hot day, or be rescued from a fire. However a living but disabled person can have all of these. Some legal fictions allow the privileges according to the living to be granted to the dead.

For example, if a corpse is found outdoors on a hot day (one assumes that happened more ordinarily in the ancient world than thankfully it does today) it would be common for others to sit beside it as a guard. Shade could be constructed for them and even if they "slip away" the corpse will be protected.

Similarly a corpse cannot be moved on the sabbath, even to escape a fire. But if a small child can be found who could sit on it, the body could be moved for the child's sake.

Legal fictions ease restrictions!

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